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Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords – A Simple SEO Guide for 2021

Keyword research is usually the first step in any SEO strategy. It can make or break the entire piece of content you want to create.

Think about it: if you don’t optimize your content around the right keywords, how do you expect search engines to show you content to more people? And more importantly: if you don’t know the correct terms (keywords) people use when searching something online, how do you expect them to find you?

I know the importance of keyword research for getting more traffic and brand awareness. That’s why we are covering a major topic when it comes to keyword research today: Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords.

But before getting into that, let’s look at the basics of keyword research:

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How to Perform Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of finding the words and phrases that people use when they are searching for something online.

To perform keyword research, you should have a seed keyword. It can be a generic term or a broad topic. Put this seed keyword into a keyword research tool that will give you many statistics related to that keyword.

The most important statistics to look at are:

  1. Monthly search volume: How many people search for this keyword? It varies from industry to industry, so choose what’s “normal” for your industry.
  2. Organic click-through-rate: If there are not many people who click on the search results for this keyword, it might not be worth going after.
  3. Difficulty: What’s the SEO difficulty for this keyword? Does your website have enough domain authority to rank for this keyword?
  4. CPC: How much money do people want to spend on this keyword? This information is especially crucial if you have an e-commerce website or perform keyword research for your services.

After that, you sprinkle the targeted keywords to different parts of your web page. It helps search engines understand your content better.

Now that we know how to perform keyword research, let’s look at the two major types of keywords:

Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords

Short-tail Keywords

These are the keywords that consist of one or two words and get the most searches per month. Mostly, these are broad search terms. People who are new to content marketing make the mistake of using these keywords too often. However, you want to avoid them if you are a new business because some big-name brands have already targeted these keywords.

People searching for these terms are mostly unfamiliar with the topic or at the beginning of the sales funnel. In addition to that, the user’s search intent is not clear.

You do not know what the user is searching for specifically. For example, someone searching for the keyword cars might be searching for cars to buy, cars wallpapers, or “Cars the movie.” So, when it comes to Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords for most websites, short-tail keywords are not the right choice.

That said, you shouldn’t avoid them all the time. You might find some good opportunities for them. But your primary focus should be on:

Long-tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are more specific search terms. They tend to be longer than the short-tail keywords and consist of more than three words.

In his book, The Long Tail, Chris Anderson coined the term long-tail keyword. This book explains how these keywords are niche-specific and how they can be beneficial to marketing a product.

 Let’s look at a few reasons why they are better than short-tail keywords.

  • As they are more specific, people searching them already know what they want. This specificity is especially useful for e-commerce sites.
  • They are easier to rank for because most websites go after generic or short-tail keywords. Also, to rank for short-tail keywords, you need a high domain authority that most new websites don’t have.
  • They are less competitive. Also, these keywords can be cheaper to bid on in Google Ads.
  • As they are more specific, making content centered on them more straightforward.
  • It’s easier to find a niche-specific audience because of the vastness of the internet.

Now that we know their importance, let’s look at an example:

Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords.png comes here.

For example, you might be thinking that this keyword, Pittsburgh SEO Company, is not right to target because it does not have thousands of searches per month. But if you look at the cost-per-click, it becomes a great keyword. They are will to spend money on this keyword. So, when it comes to Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords for most websites, long-tail keywords win.

Heads or Tails?

Heads or Tails?   

Most blogs are niche-based and focus on one broad topic that is called the head term. These are the essential terms for a blog. As an example, my head terms are SEO, Social Media, Web Design, and Email Marketing.

However, I can’t write all of my blog posts around these head terms, so we go after more specific terms and create content around keywords like Social Media Influencer and Google Search Console.

To get more traffic, we target more specific terms. However, traffic is not the only goal here. We target these terms to educate our visitors because after learning about a general topic, for example, SEO, people want to dig deeper. This want is where long-tail keywords play their role.

After creating content around long-tail keywords, you should link it to your main pages. This method helps improve your website’s SEO.

Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords – Final Words

Today, we looked at Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords and saw how long-tail keywords are beneficial for new businesses. But we also discussed why you shouldn’t ignore short-tail keywords.

So how do you approach keywords? Are you a big fan of long-tail keywords like me?

Let me know in the comments.  I would love to hear it.

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